Is CBD Oil Addictive?

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The potential benefits of CBD have been spread everywhere, and there is a rising amount of research to back this up. Studies suggest that CBD provides anti-inflammatory and seizure-suppressant properties, and has also shown its promise to alleviate social anxiety.

After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, when the industrial hemp cultivation was legalized, this industry experienced a massive influx of CBD brands and new products hitting the market almost everyday.

Outside the United States, many other countries have also started allowing CBD to seep into their borders legally. Canada passed The Cannabis Act. Furthermore, it legalized adult-use-cannabis, both hemp and marijuana derived CBD are available in all provinces. The European Union established regulatory guidelines for hemp derived CBD oil. It allowed the cultivation  of hemp provided that the amount of THC does not overreach 0.2%.

Many of the South American countries have also eased their restrictions against cannabidiol and medical marijuana in general. Both Mexico and Brazil have started allowing the import of CBD products for certain medical conditions. Other countries such as Chile established a full scale medical marijuana program.

But some may be disinclined to give CBD a chance, as they have a false notion that it could create the same type of psychoactive effects as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the intoxicating counterpart of CBD and the cannabis plant’s most ample cannabinoid.

Like THC, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for keeping the body in homeostasis. It binds CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system where they regulate brain function and CB2 receptors located on the immune cells. Moreover, when this interaction takes place at molecular level, cannabidiol does the opposite of what THC does.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is considered as the agonist to CB1 receptors, but on the contrary, CBD has proven to be inverse agonist. Simply put, tetrahydrocannabinol activates these receptors but cannabidiol does not. It does, however through many other biological pathways. Furthermore, it has been reported to provide many therapeutic benefits, for instance, anti-inflammation.

Is CBD Addictive?

The simple answer is no. CBD is not addictive and it does not produce the so-called stoned effect that THC does.

In March 2017, a study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined this by giving various oral dosages of CBD to marijuana users and in combination with smoked marijuana that contained 5.3 percent to 5.8 percent tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. After analyzing the abuse liability profile  of CBD compared with an oral placebo and active marijuana, they concluded that cannabidiol did not show any signals of abuse liability.

It’s Important to note that THC does not induce the same degree of  physical withdrawal symptoms like opiates or alcohol do. Furthermore, chronic cannabis use can cause CUD or Cannabis Use Disorder which may result in dependency. This condition can be described as similar to nicotine withdrawal. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms may include feelings of anxiety, agitation, poor mood, and sleep disturbance. 

Since many CBD products contain THC, the matter is slightly complicated if we ask “is CBD oil addictive?” First, we have to examine a precursory question: “where does CBD come from?”

CBD is produced from two types of plants: marijuana and hemp. CBD derived from hemp plant contain little to no trace of THC which is less than 0.3%. Which is why it should not put an individual at risk of cannabis withdrawal symptoms that might occur due to heavier THC intake.

On the other hand, CBD derived from marijuana plant contains a higher amount of THC that exceeds the legal limit set by the US government (less than 0.3%). As CBD derived from marijuana contains high levels of THC an individual may encounter withdrawal symptoms if taken too much.

But CBD products with THC level above 0.3% are only available in states with medical or adult use cannabis legalization.

According to a 2011 study, CBD has a better safety profile than tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Researchers found that higher doses of CBD which is up to 1500 milligrams were well tolerated by the human subjects. Furthermore, CBD did not impair motor or psychological functions and also did not affect the blood pressure or body temperature. This safety profile indicates CBD to be an inverse agonist to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. 

While all signs suggest that CBD is not an addictive substance, it is possible that if it is taken too much it can cause adverse reactions. If you take a large amount of CBD on a daily basis and quit suddenly you may experience side effects like changes in sleep, anxiety, inflammation.

This does not mean you should avoid CBD products with high levels of THC. However, the combination of CBD and THC produces an entourage effect which boosts the therapeutic benefits while subduing negative side effects. In a study conducted in 2010 involving patients with cancer pain found that the combination of CBD and THC was more effective in relieving pain than the THC and placebo combination.

CBD Could Help Fight Addiction

Studies suggest that CBD could also be used to help combat cannabis withdrawal symptoms. In a 2013 report, researchers gave a woman with cannabis withdrawal syndrome for 10 days. They found that the withdrawal symptoms were reduced effectively. 

Existing research also suggests that CBD may help fight addiction to other dangerous substances such as tobacco and opioids. 

A 2013 study published in Addictive Behaviors looked at the effectiveness of CBD to reduce the consumption of cigarettes. Researchers gave CBD inhalers to 12 subjects and a placebo to the other 12 subjects. Subjects were instructed to use the inhaler when they felt the need of smoking cigarettes. Over a week-long period, those who were given inhalers smoked 40% less cigarettes. On the other hand, subjects that were given a placebo did not show any notable difference.

CBD has also shown beneficial properties in the treatment of other addictive substances. A May 2019 study found that CBD could be effective in alleviating cravings associated with heroin addiction. The study was conducted with 42 adults who had been using heroin for over 13 years. 14 of the subjects were given 800 milligrams of CBD, another group of 14 subjects were given 400 milligrams of CBD and the rest were given a placebo. Compared to placebo, those who were given CBD showed significantly reduced craving and also anxiety induced by the drug cues.

Side Effects

We have established that CBD oil is not addictive and intoxicating. Furthermore, it can potentially alleviate the cannabis withdrawal symptoms and dependency to other addictive substances. But are there any side effects to be aware of?

The U.S based nonprofit academic medical center Mayo Clinic suggests that CBD use can potentially cause slightly adverse effects, including diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. Other than those mild side effects there are no known withdrawal effects to be concerned about while using CBD products. Furthermore, the benefits seem to outweigh the potential drawbacks.

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June 9, 2020